Think Neuro

14. Treating the Effects of Cancer on Mind and Spirit | Dr. Shanthi Gowrinathan

Episode Summary

Treating cancer involves more than treating the body. The disease takes a toll on the mind, too, no matter what organ system it affects. Cancer and treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy come with mental costs as well. Depression, anxiety, cognitive symptoms, and insomnia are common after cancer treatment. There is also a syndrome that patients call “chemo brain” and doctors call “frontal lobe dysfunction.” It’s not an official diagnosis, but patients who suffer from it say they are more irritable, they can’t tolerate loud noises or crowded spaces. Dr. Shanthi Gowrinathan has seen all of these things. She’s the Director of Psycho-Oncology at PNI, and she specializes in the mental health of cancer patients. She uses a combination of talk therapy and medication to help people recover their mental and spiritual bearings while coping with the disease. She is excited about PNI’s new Treatment & Research in Psychedelics (TRIP) program because studies have shown great potential for substances like psilocybin in treating depression. Research in the area is key to finding more options for rebooting the brain after cancer. For more information: | (310) 582-7640